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Why Y-Not?

In February of 2022, Y-Not Theatre will be 5 years old. Our history is full of ups and downs and trying times.  I often think about the early days when I was seeking advice from professional arts consultants.  They tried to steer me away from this.  They said don’t do it. I was told the nonprofit arts field was too risky and challenging. When I reflect on the early days, I remember a lot of people had questions about the name. It seemed like the perfect name for a new organization that wanted to question the norms of art making.  I hear the phrase why not at least three or four times a day.  It is a part of our daily language in Starbucks, in schools, in the workplace and at home.  It is a question but also a statement.  It is honest and truthful.  Some suggested that it had negative connotations.  I think why not is endless possibilities. 

The story of the “Y” come from my growing up at the YMCA.  I first started doing theatre outreach programs after graduating from Florida State University at the YMCA.  Most people that frequent the YMCA refer to it as the Y. 

Now that we are getting close to five years old the American Theatre is changing.  It is looking inward and reevaluating models that are outdated and exclusionary. I have always believed that an arts organization that is not moving forward is moving backwards. Now instead of thinking about why theatre ask why not? 

Paul Gabbard

Artistic Director

Y-Not Theatre


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